Jenn (mercuryhime) wrote in vegancooking,

char siu bao (char siew bao)

Not really sure how to spell it. It seems to be spelled differently on every website...
but anyway! BIG NEWS!!!!

I've just made my own bbq pork bun with seitan pork. It was a lot of work and I did it in a span of two days, but it was done. I haven't had these in so many years. They taste just like the stuff from dim sum places, except that I made the filling less gooey. I always hated that it was so full of goo... I made the baked version. I would have steamed the buns, but with the equipment I had, I would have had to steam one bun at the time. too tedious!

So this is how I did it:

First make 3x the marinade from this website:

modified for veganism but you still need to do the math and triple the ingredients. :P

Char Siu


1 ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 ½ tbsp. light soy sauce
1 ½ tbsp. agave nectar
1 ½ tbsp. veg. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. shao Hsing wine / or dry sherry
3 ½ tbsp. hoisin sauce
½ tsp. five spice powder (I like Penzey’s brand) (optional)
black pepper to taste
red food coloring (optional)


Mix everything together.

Then, I followed this recipe for the seitan up until the point where it says to add bbq sauce:

already vegan...yay! but I left out the onion, paprika, and nut. yeast from the original recipe. Below, I have the version I made.

Janice's Barbeque Gluten "Ribs"

4 cups washed, raw gluten (instant: 4 cups instant guten flour/vital wheatgluten and 3 cups warm water. mix and knead by hand)
1/2 cup peanut butter or sesame tahini or almond butter
3 Tbs salt
1/2 cup hot melted margarine

Put gluten in bowl with peanut butter and salt on top. Pour hot sauteed onions and hot margarine over all. While everything is still warm (burn your hands), mix will with hands until the gluten is in stringy, chunky pieces. The hot margarine breaks the gluten down and helps the seasonings penetrate.

Break off the gluten into good-sized pieces to make 2x4 gluten 'ribs', but pulling, twisting, and flattning them to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. do not roll or cut, it will make the gluten like bread instead of chewy.

pour 1/4-1/2 cut oil onto a large cookie sheet. place ribs of gluten on sheet and back in a 350-400*F oven for 1 hour until crispy and brown on bottom. Pour two cups BBQ sauce over each sheet and bake for 10more minutes.

I'd recommend using only 1 TBSP of salt instead of the 3 it calls for. The marinade is very salty. I used 3 and it is too much.

Also bake at 350 instead of the optional 400. I did 400 and mine were a bit over done. Maybe just bake 45 mins instead of 1 hour? Just keep an eye on what's going on in the oven.

Instead of adding the bbq sauce, I made sure each piece of seitan had a good coating of the marinade, but no more. It's very strong marinade. You might have some marinade left, but that's ok. Use it for stir fries, chinese style noodles, etc.

Stick back in oven till sauce is all sticky and caramelized. I forget how long I took, exactly. 10 mins, I'd guess.

This makes a lot of char siu!!

At this point, I was pretty tired. I already made brownies, onigiri, and miso soup that day. I was done for. I put all the char siu into the fridge.

The next morning, I finely diced one small onion, and diced about 2 1/2 cups of char siu. Then, I sauteed the onions in some water and added the char siu. Cooked till heated. Then, mix a little bit of corn starch into 1 TBSP of cold water, add into pot and cook a little longer till add the liquid dries up. It needs to be dry, other wise the buns will be soggy.

Then, I made this super fast dough:

also modified for my purposes...

Chinese Baked Char Siu Bao

3 cups all-purpose flour, adding more as necessary for a pliable dough
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup unmilk or more water
1/2 cup water
1/4 unmilk
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine 3 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Combine unmilk, 1/2 cup water and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in small saucepan; heat to 120 to 130 degrees. Add to flour mixture, stirring, to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board or pastry cloth and knead 5 minutes, or until smooth. Shape dough into ball; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to circle 5 inches in diameter. (Cover remaining pieces until ready to use.) Place about 1/4 cupful char siu mixture in center of each circle. Gather up edges of dough over filling. Close top by pinching edges together in center and twisting to secure. Place buns, sealed side down, on greased baking sheet. Let rise in warm place 45 minutes, or until slightly puffy. Meanwhile, beat unmilk, remaining 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon sugar vigorously in small bowl with wire whisk until sugar dissolves; brush tops of buns lightly with unmilk
mixture. Bake in 375 F oven 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove buns to rack to cool. Makes 1 dozen.

I would recommend adding maybe 3 TBSPs of oil instead of the 1 indicated in the recipe. Mine came out a bit dry after it cooled all afternoon. Traditionally, they are quite soft even after several days. I think the extra fat will keep things nice and moist.

I coated my buns with vanilla almond milk. It was all I had, but I think the slight vanilla flavor actually enhanced the flavor. It didn't get brown and shiny like at the bakeries, but it tastes better!

I ate two warm from the oven. Mmmmmmmmmmm... so good.


You'll still have tons of char siu at this point. Don't worry. Just plan to make lots of chinese food. :)

you can make cheong fun, which are like rice flour crepes filled with a savory filling.

I want to try this cheong fun recipe soon:

Dim Sum Style Chee Cheong fun

Ingredients :
150g Rice Flour
1 ½ Tbsp Wheat starch flour
2 Tbsp Corn flour
1 Tbsp Oil
2 cups Water
½ tsp Salt

Method :
1. Sift dry ingredients together.
2. Slowly add the water, mixing as you add.
3. Lastly add the oil and salt and mix thoroughly. Set batter aside for at least an hour.
4. Prepare your steamer. Grease a swiss roll pan or any aluminium tray with oil and pour the batter directly on the pan and steam for 5 mins.
5. After steaming, using a plastic scrapper roll the ccf up. If you are using ingredients like char siew or prawns, you can sprinkle it over the steamed ccf and then proceed to roll it up.
6. Place in a plate brushed with a little oil. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Serve with soy sauce diluted a bit, sweetened a tad with a drop of sesame oil. :)

You can add bits too fried rice, slice into stir fries, add where ham/bacon is asked for, add to your veggie lo mein, add to tofu scrambles etc. The possibilities are endless! Or you could make a gajillon buns and freeze some to defrost on lazy night.

I am on step closer to veganizing all my fave dimsums. Next thing to conquer are those yuba wrapped pork rolls covered in a brown sauce. Or taro puffs! or dumplings of sticky rice stuffed with chicken, pork, and mushrooms wrapped in a lotus leaf...
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